Partial lunar eclipse lights up skies 50 years on from Apollo 11 launch

People watch the partial lunar eclipse from the esplinade in Sidmouth, Devon Credit: Ben Birchall/Pa

Stargazers have been treated to a cosmic spectacle as a partial lunar eclipse was visible across parts of the UK.

The event on Tuesday evening coincided with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 launching its moon mission.

Clear skies across much of the country gave people a stunning view of the phenomenon, including in London, Yorkshire and at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire.

The partial eclipse was also visible as far afield as Australia, Africa and much of Asia.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth, sun, and moon are almost exactly in line and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.

The moon is full, moves into the shadow of the Earth and dims dramatically but usually remains visible, lit by sunlight that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere.

The eclipse was seen in the UK from moon rise, from approximately 9.07pm  until around 1.17am.

People shared their pictures and video on social media and also celebrated the fact it came 50 years to the day after Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off into space for a mission like no other on July 16, 1969.

One Twitter user said: “Watching a partial lunar eclipse on 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 launch is really quite magical.”

The spectacle was seen above London from Primrose Hill Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Another wrote: “So 50 years since the best achievement for spacefaring that man has achieved thus far, Apollo 11’s launch 50 years today, is celebrated with a partial lunar eclipse. Just brilliant. Absolutely fantastic.”

The 1969 mission marked one of humanity’s biggest moments in space exploration.

A few days after the launch, on July 21, people across the globe watched in amazement as Armstrong and Aldrin walked across the lunar surface, taking photos, collecting samples, planting a US flag and taking a call from then-president Richard Nixon.